Category Archives: Confidence

Fuzzy logic; Economics and Crochet

So, I’ve been reading this book called “Banker to the poor” by Mohammed Yunis. If you don’t know who this guy is, you should. Professor Yunis is the man who founded Grameen bank, the only micro-lending bank of it’s kind. And, read that sentence again, the ONLY micro-lending bank of it’s kind.

This man was a professor of economics around the time Bangladesh gained it’s independance from Pakistan in the 1970’s. He noted the extreme poverty in the villages surrounding the university where he taught, and began to think about how to “fix” the problem of extreme (and I mean extreme) poverty. I won’t detail how he started Grameen Bank, or his economic theories. What I do want to do, is state that what I have observed in his writing (and I’m half way through the very thoughtfully written tome) is two fold:

1) Dr. Saif, whereever you are, can you PLEASE change my grade in economics now? I know it’s been twenty years, but really, this guy has done exactly what I was talking about in 1989 and it’s working. I would like that C marring my GPA change to at least a B+.

2) Much of what Professor Yunis has done is address not just the money side of poverty but the social side of poverty. And this is where my thoughts are turning.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CROCHET? A lot.

1)  Go into any department store and you will see crocheted garments and accessories (you will also see hand knit items)., these are made most often in third world countries by the poor. Unless it is a special fair trade organization where the workers are allowed to both acrue and re-invest their earnings, most of the goods are made by people who make less than a sustaining wage. Forget living wage, most of those people end up owing the factories for their room and board, and never ever have a chance of succeeding in feeding their families or educating their children. This ensures future generations of poverty.

2) Even in the USA where our poor have a much higher standard of living and a better “quality” of life, the majority of people who make handmade items make very little if anything from their labors. Most of them are female, and most often their work is discounted and devalued because it does not meet the current world view on what is and is not worthy of due payment and wealth.

The problem for us as crocheters isn’t the fact that knitters exist, that never has been the problem. They are equally mistreated economically, and in truth they may have a better rep in the handworking world, but all handworkers are looked down upon by the “real world.’

Whatever this “real world” is saying is frankly b.s. and DOES NOT WORK.

Any system (economic or otherwise) that only benefits a minor percentage of any population group or demographic, is a failing system.

Now, we’ve identified the problem. The next step is to figure out what to do about it.

1) Support your local handworkers.

2) Do not accept the lies that what you do is not of value.

3) Buy locally, think globally.

4) Do NOT by sweatshop created projects. Believe it or not people are far better off in their local villages than going into big cities to be indentured or slaves. And yes, that is very much how people are treated. They do not ever have a chance at living, they die young, poor and in bad health; leaving their children to the same fate. Believe me, I have seen these things first hand, ugly and brutal are poor adjectives to describe it.

5) Find an NGO (non-governmental agency) to support that works in fair trade, and then support them.

6) Price your own work above free. What you do has value.

I’m hopping off the soapbox for a little while, but be prepared I’ll be getting back on it as I read through the book. Because it’s making my brain tick. Crochet is a very small part of the world, but I can’t change the big picture. I can work at changing just a small part of this little microcosm. We don’t have to change the world anyway, we can just change our own world.

Advertisements

Confidence & Crafting…

Now that I’ve been home a few days, I’ve had a chance to get resettled, catch up on some home and business “things” and also reflect back on the weekend that was to be forever known as “The Portland Experience.”

I took my second and third crochet classes ever in Portland. I’ve never been one of taking classes, having figured out most of what I do through a) trial and error (mostly error), and b) copious volumes of magazines and books. I have to say, I like taking classes, if I had just done that to start with (had I known they existed!) I would have saved myself a great amount of time, frustration and yarn!

I witnessed something rather sad in one of my classes, and I find it so because I’ve felt like the poor person I observed. In fact, I used to feel like she felt an awful lot once upon a life time ago.

There were two of us in the class who crochet for a living, or have crocheted for a living, or at the very least use a hook EVERY SINGLE DAY of the year. This poor person was having a hard time with figuring out how to do the lace, and was feeling slow, behind, and not “as good” as the others in the class.

The truth of the matter, was that I had made just as many mistakes on my learning piece as she had. Her real problem was, a) the yarn she used was rather unforgiving and b) her self confidence.

I can’t count the times, I see messages on Ravelry.com or meet handworkers of all stripes (but ESPECIALLY crocheters) who knock themselves and their skills. “Am I doing it right?” “I wish I was as good as you!” “I’ll never be able to do THAT!” It makes me really, really sad to see this. We have so over achieved, and have stupid perfection expectations that we become discouraged when we make errors when we are LEARNING something new!

I made tons of mistakes in my first Broomstick Lace project. I missed a few stitches, had a few less loops in places, it’s not quite the “hour glass” shape described in the pattern, but hell and darn it holds together, and since I’m not entering it into a competition and it’s a learning piece, I don’t care about the mistakes. I learned from them…YES do you HEAR ME!

MISTAKES ARE SOMETHING FROM WHICH YOU LEARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The world will not cease turning on it’s axis if you make a mistake. And frankly that’s the worst thing that could happen to us, besides the sun going Super Nova on our collective hinneys; and that ain’t gonna happen either.

I still haven’t finished the little bag, which is about four inches high, and four inches wide (ish)…

Why does mine look delicate. Cause I broke the rules, instead of using a worsted weight as called for in the class description. I decided to use a cotton sock yarn that’s fingering weight instead. I know from years of experience that if I want my lace to be “lacey” then I need to use a finer yarn. Especially since the instructions called for a size 19 needle, and as I’m not the proud owner of a needle stash, other than a size 17, 30 and 50 (bought for the purpose of making broomstick), that if I was using a size 17 I’d need finer yarn.
Yarn: It is the beginning and the end of your project. The same pattern worked in different hook sizes and yarns can be amazingly diverse 🙂
So, folks…STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP if you goof, OH WELL…
Fearless Leader says to repeat after me: “What I make is beautiful, including my mistakes. I will learn from them, and be better at what I do because of it.”
You are only a failure if you believe it; I do not believe in the concept of failure. I believe in the concept of learning. The only time you fail is when you never ever try.